Who gets the children in a divorce?
Custody in Texas Family Law is called “conservatorship”. Conservatorship defines the legal rights and responsibilities of a parent. There are three types of conservatorship that a Judge may give in a Texas divorce case.
Sole Managing Conservatorship – a sole managing conservator has the most legal rights when it comes to decisions on how to raise the children, where the children will live and go to school, and consenting to invasive medical procedures. Typically, when the Judge appoints one parent as a sole managing conservator, the other parent will be appointed as a Possessory Conservator.
Possessory Conservatorship – a possessory conservator has most of the same rights and duties as a managing conservator. However, the possessory conservator does not have the right to make certain major decisions for the children including but not limited to: establishing primary residence, consent to medical procedures, consent to marriage, education decisions, and more.
Joint Managing Conservatorship – Joint managing conservators in Texas share the same rights as a sole managing conservator. There is a presumption that making both parents joint managing conservators is in the best interest of the child. In many Texas divorce cases, the Judge will appoint both parents as Joint Managing Conservators, with one parent as a primary manager. The primary manager gets to establish the children’s primary residence.
By default, the judge typically appoints parents as Joint Managing Conservators. However, it is not uncommon for a judge to appoint a Sole Managing Conservator and a Possessory Conservator. This mostly depends on the part of Texas where you file your divorce case as each judge will make his or her own decision based on what is in the best interest of the children given the particular case and situation.